Last second heroics lead men’s soccer to 1-0 victory over UC Davis

The Aztecs celebrate a goal they scored in the final minutes of play.

Juan Daniel Avila

The Aztecs celebrate a goal they scored in the final minutes of play.

by Juan Daniel Avila, Senior Staff Writer

The San Diego State men’s soccer team shutout UC Davis 1-0 in a dramatic last-second play on Friday, Sept. 10 in front of a thrilled crowd at the SDSU Sports Deck. 

The Aztecs (2-0-2) have now posted shutouts in three of their first four matches and continue to stay undefeated. This is the first time the Aztecs have been undefeated since their first four matches in 2016, which is the last time they made the NCAA tournament.

The dramatic moment of the game came when the Aggies (0-5-0) were called on a foul and issued a yellow card with seconds left in regulation. Sophomore midfielder Iñigo Villaldea would be the one to set up and take the 30-yard free kick in which his shot was stopped and deflected by a UC Davis player.

Luckily, Aztec senior forward Tevenn Roux was present to push the ball past the outstretched arms of the Aggies goalkeeper into junior forward Blake Bowen in which he seized the opportunity to sprint and blast the ball into the back of the net during the last second of regulation, to gain the Aztecs victory. 

Bowen expressed his emotions after the match about his last-second play.

“It feels good. I also didn’t want to go into extra time again so, yeah, I feel good,” Bowen said. “This goal represents a new start to this program and I mean, we need more of you guys (fans) out here to get the crowd riled up. I’d love to see it.” 

The Aztecs outplayed the Aggies in the first half, outshooting them 6-1 while also dominating in possession and controlling the tempo of the game. By the end of the second half, the Aggies had turned things around and held a 5-2 shot advantage right before SDSU’s last two shots of the game in the final five minutes.

Head coach Ryan Hopkins was a bit frustrated coming into the final minutes of regulation but was relaxed once the goal for the Aztecs had finally come.

“They tested my heart tonight. We took every single second of that match, but we tell our guys all the time it’s a 90-minute match,” Hopkins said after the match. “You just have to keep going and keep grinding and can’t get frustrated and stick to our principles, which I thought we did really well tonight. Credit to UC Davis, they are a good side, but our guys have so much belief and we are finding ways to win games. I can’t say enough about our whole team defense, they posted another clean sheet, which puts us in a good position to win.”

Hopkins also emphasized the meaning behind being undefeated in this early stage of the season.

“It’s awesome that you know these guys have a lot of belief and compassion and we’re trying to turn around a lot of years of not having belief and not having passion and not getting results and that takes some time you know?” Hopkins said. “But you know you have to go through hard moments like these– and we are just thrilled and ready to go again on Sunday.”

Up next the Scarlet and Black host Cal State Bakersfield (0-4-1) on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 3 p.m. at the SDSU Sports Deck.